It’s Shrove Tuesday, aka Pancake Day, aka Mardi Gras, aka Fat Tuesday. It’s ironic to focus on ‘self-control’ on a day when we eat as many pancakes as we can possibly consume. What’s that about?
Well first off, let me talk about Shrove Tuesday. This is the day before Lent begins; a day when we choose which things we will fast from or add to our lives during Lent. Some choose to fast from sugar, junk food, coffee, TV, smoking or any number of things. Others choose to add more prayer or Bible readings to their daily routines through Lent in an effort to get closer to God. ‘Shrove’ means to absolve oneself from something that gets in the way of intimacy with God.
If you read my writings, you may have noticed that I like the word strive. It implies that we haven’t arrived where we are headed, but we are working hard to get there. Shrove, or to shrive (strive) for a goal is what this season is all about.
And striving takes serious self-control.
So what’s the deal with Pancake Day? Well the original idea was to use up everything in the house that could be fattening or tempting. So all the flour in the house got used up on Shrove Tuesday in pancakes and breads, and one last feast was had before Ash Wednesday and the beginning of Lent. It was a party! So now we eat pancakes as a symbol of one last hurrah before a season of fasting and prayer.
So eat some serious pancakes today!!! Enjoy yourself. Have fun. Party.
Because tomorrow it gets serious.
Let’s continue to tap into our self-control as we strive to be ‘The Hand of God in the Heart of the City’.
Shrove Tuesday Prayer
We thank You for the rich and wonderful world of physical pleasure and nourishment you have given to us to enjoy. We thank you for the pleasures of sight and smell and taste and touch. We thank you for the bounty of our tables and for the loved ones who feast and laugh with us.
And yet Father, we are also aware that if life’s basic pleasures are all that we pursue and if we have no spiritual depth, our lives are meaningless.
Help us to feast and to fast with the same mindset of Christ, not for our own good pleasure but for your good pleasure. We celebrate You in our feasting today, and we celebrate you in our fasting tomorrow. May each be used by You to our spiritual growth and benefit. In the name of Your Son Jesus, who is the Bread of Life we pray,
– Prayer adapted from here